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Every Sierra Nevada IPA, Ranked

Sierra Nevada is a big name in the craft beer world. Founded in 1979 in Chico, California (where it’s still brewed) by Paul Camusi and Ken Grossman, it has consistently launched award-winning, well-respected beers while also helping launch the entire craft beer movement. This includes the pale ale that started a beer revolution: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

One of the top ten largest breweries in the country, Sierra Nevada remains privately owned. While it’s most known for the aforementioned pale ale, the brewery has become a center of the IPA universe bridging the gap between piney, resinous West Coast IPAs and juicy, sweet, fruity New England IPAs perfectly. All told, Sierra Nevada makes ten IPAs (and its beloved pale ale that’s so hoppy it often makes IPA lists).

All of its IPAs are noteworthy, but some are better than others. This is why we decided that it was important to the beer-drinking community (especially IPA fanatics) that we ranked each and everyone one of this iconic brand’s IPAs. We’re also ranking the original Pale Ale as a check and balance to the rest of Sierra’s line. Check them all out below to see where your favorites landed. And if you want to try any of these yourself, just click on the prices!

11) Sierra Nevada Summer Break

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 4.6%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Brewed with two-row pale malts, oats, wheat, and Chinook, Simcoe, Comet, Mosaic, Amarillo, and Strisselspalt, this is a winner in the session IPA world in the hops department.

Tasting Notes:

For the number of hops included in this beer, there isn’t much of an aroma. There are slight hints of resin as well as light citrus. But they’re fairly muted. The palate is a little better with notes of caramel malts, citrus rind, tangerine, and pineapple. The finish is slightly bitter but rather uneventful.

Bottom Line:

For a crushable summer beer, this hits the spot. Being the only session IPA on this list, it’s a little lighter in the flavor department than the others. It’s just that it’s pretty bland when you compare it to the rest of Sierra Nevada’s portfolio.

10) Sierra Nevada Big Little Thing

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 9%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Brewed with ale yeast, pale malt, wheat malt, and Munich malt, as well as Magnum, Crystal, Chinook, Idaho 7, Columbus, Cascade, and Mosaic hops, this is a bold, brash, aggressive IPA. It’s 9 percent ABV and filled with malty, tropical flavors.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is a mixture of floral, resinous pine, and slight fruit. Sipping this beer reveals a lot of fruity sweetness along with slight biscuity-like malts, wet grass, pineapple, grapefruit, and more subtly bitter, dank hops. The finish is a nice mix of fruit and bitter hops.

Bottom Line:

Once again, this is definitely not a bad beer. However… when compared to the other offerings on this list, it’s a bit aggressive in the bitterness and high alcohol department.

9) Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $25 for a 12-pack

The Beer:

This is a fun beer and it tastes exactly as the name suggests. This slightly malty, highly fruity beer is brewed with Citra, Comet, Mosaic, Amarillo, and El Dorado hops. The result is an IPA designed to make you feel like you’re enjoying this beer in a tropical paradise and not in your backyard overlooking corn fields somewhere in the Midwest.

Tasting Notes:

As expected, the nose is all tropical fruits. There are hints of ripe peaches, mango, guava, and pineapple. There are also piney hops to round it all out. The flavor follows suit with a gargantuan fruity, tropical flavor. There’s also a nice caramel malt backbone and a slightly bitter finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a tasty, fruity beer. The only reason it landed so low on the rankings is that it’s fairly one-dimensional. By that, we mean it’s all fruity, tropical flavors and that’s about it.

8) Sierra Nevada Fantastic Haze

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 9%

Average Price: $12.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Fantastic Haze is a bold, citrus-filled beer. Brewed with ale yeast, two-row pale malts, oats, wheat, as well as Chinook, Azacca, Amarillo, Idaho 7, and Strata hops, it lives up to its fantastic name. It’s hazy, juicy, and so filled with citrus and tropical fruit flavors, you forget that it’s 9 percent ABV.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of dank hops, wet grass, mango, guava, and various other tropical fruit flavors. The palate follows suit with stone fruits, grapefruit, slight bready malts, and very little hops bitterness. Even with the high ABV, it’s surprisingly crushable and sweet.

Bottom Line

To really enjoy this beer, you should try it side by side with Big Little Thing. They’re both 9 percent ABV, but the differences are so subtle that drinking them one after another is the only way to really find the subtle nuances.

7) Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This double IPA is the bold, vibrant hop-bomb that West Coast IPA fans dream about. Not only is it chocked full of hops, including Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Crystal, Magnum, and Idaho 7, it also gets its slightly bitter, floral, and dank flavor from the addition of lupulin dust that’s added right into the tank.

Tasting Notes:

Based on the ingredients, you’d expect this nose to have a little more going on. There’s an obvious, piney hops aroma that pairs with citrus zest, and a floral component West Coast IPA drinkers expect. But it’s all a little muted. The palate is slightly acidic with notes of tangerine, lemon zest, and dank pine. It’s fairly bitter, but that’s expected with an IPA like this.

Bottom Line:

With a name like Hop Bullet, there’s an expectation that this beer will be over-the-top hoppy. That’s just not the case. While a great beer for West Coast IPA drinkers, it doesn’t live up to its moniker.

6) Sierra Nevada Dankful

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 7.4%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

With a name like Dankful, you definitely know what you’re in for with this beer. Brewed with ale yeast, various malts, and Columbus, Chinook, Mosaic, Ekuanot, Nelson Sauvin, Zappa, and Idaho 7 hops, it’s a dank, resinous, hoppy West Coast IPA you’ll go back to again and again.

Tasting Notes:

Before sipping, take a moment to breathe in the aromas of resinous pine, wildflowers, slight soap, and citrus zest. The palate is swirling with earthy, herbal notes, dank pine, slight bready malts, grapefruit, and a nice kick of hops bitterness at the very end.

Bottom Line:

On top of being a great, hoppy, dank West Coast IPA, drinking Dankful actually helps those in need. A portion of its proceeds to go nonprofit charities.

5) Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 11%

Average Price: $9.99 for a four-pack

The Beer:

This is not a beer for IPA novices. This triple IPA, brewed with Chinook, Magnum, and Idaho 7 hops sit at a bold 11 percent ABV. It’s bitter, piney, dank, and definitely pushes the envelope in terms of what exactly a West Coast IPA is. It’s a true palate destroyer.

Tasting Notes:

Sierra Nevada’s hoppiest beer begins with aromas of citrus zest, dank pine, resin, and just a hint of floral hops. The flavor is filled with caramel malts that are enveloped with tangerine, grapefruit, and a whole forest of dank, resinous pine trees. This is a bold, hop-bomb that IPA drinkers need to try.

Bottom Line:

If you’re the type of person who wants to push the limits of the West Coast IPA, this is the beer for you. It’s crazy hoppy, dank, and filled with bitter, pine flavor.

4) Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Even though it seems like every brewery makes a hazy IPA now, there’s a reason Hazy Little Thing still makes lists ranking the best of the best. That’s because this IPA brewed with Citra, Magnum, Simcoe, Comet, Mosaic, and El Dorado is juicy, sweet, and highly crushable on a hot summer day.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is what you expect from a hazy, New England-style IPA. It’s filled with guava, mango, tangerine, pineapple, and grapefruit. The palate is highlighted by flavors like ripe peaches, passion fruit, mango, fresh oranges, wet grass, and just a hint of hop bitterness at the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a true, unrivaled juice bomb. Fans of hazy New England IPAs will have a hard time finding a better, more crushable juicy IPA than this.

3) Sierra Nevada Celebration

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 6.8%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Celebration is a bit different from the other IPAs on this list. It’s a wintry IPA brewed with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops. Unlike many winter beers, it’s not spiced. Instead, it’s fresh, piney, and crisp. The perfect beer to drink while you take a break from pumpkin ales and barrel-aged stouts.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is filled with scents of orange peels, fresh flowers, grapefruit, and subtle spice. The palate has a nice caramel malt backbone that pairs perfectly with citrus zest, resinous piney, dank hops. It’s a great combination of citrus, malts, and crisp hops.

Bottom Line:

In a sea of spiced, overly sweet holiday beers, Sierra Nevada Celebration is a welcomed respite of crisp, hoppy, floral refreshment.

2) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 5.6%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the beer that started the American pale ale craze. It’s also so hoppy — being brewed with ale yeast, a handful of malts, and a large amount of Cascade hops — that it manages to sneak into many IPA ranking lists.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find a combination of caramel malts, lemon zest, floral hints, and subtle, piney hops. The palate is littered with flavors of biscuity, caramel malts, grapefruit, lemon rings, and floral, dank, slightly bitter hops. It’s a perfectly balanced beer that deserves all of the accolades it receives.

Bottom Line:

If you only drink one pale ale, make it this one. It’s crisp, citrusy, and completely refreshing on a hot day (or literally any day).

1) Sierra Nevada Torpedo

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

You heard it here first. Torpedo is the best beer Sierra Nevada makes. This 7.2 percent “extra IPA” gets its slightly herbal, dank, piney flavor from the addition of Crystal, Citra, and Magnum hops. Even with its dry-hopped flavor, it’s surprisingly well-balanced and highly drinkable.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is a nice mix of malt sweetness, resinous, dank pine, citrus zest, and floral notes. Take a sip and you’ll find notes of ripe pineapple, lemon zest, grapefruit juice, spruce tips, and gentle, sweet, caramel malts. It’s super hoppy, yet balanced with a nice malty backbone.

Bottom Line:

This is the best Sierra Nevada IPA because it has a nice ABV level, pleasing floral, piney hops, slight bitterness, and a good amount of malty sweetness. A great year-round IPA for sure.


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